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'The Crucible', by Arthur Miller

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Introduction

SHORT ESSAY- "THE CRUCIBLE" By Arthur Miller [Topic: 3. It is through characterization that a dramatic text often explores themes. Discuss this statement analyzing the use of characterization in 'The Crucible'. In the play, 'The Crucible', by Arthur Miller, themes are often explored and developed through characterization. Miller's concerns with morals, guilt, evil and the power of fear develop into thought-provoking and significant themes throughout the dramatic text. These themes are developed through the characters of 'John Proctor', 'Abigail Williams', and 'Rebecca Nurse'. 'The Crucible's' main theme 'evil' can be developed through a character such as Rebecca Nurse, who represents the total opposition of evil- good. In the beginning of the play she is presented as the kindly and wise wife of 'Francis Nurse'. Rebecca's presence has a calming affect to those who are uneasy around her, as she is requested by a 'trembling' 'Paris': "Rebecca, Rebecca, go to her, we're lost", and as 'Rebecca walks across the room to the bed, gentleness exudes from her'. ...read more.

Middle

Readers are led to believe that 'Abigail's' vindictive behaviour is the main source of evil in the town. Another theme also explored by 'Abigail's' character is the power of fear. Through 'Abigail's' misuse of the power of fear she is able to control the girls by threatening harm upon them. This is present when 'Abigail' threatens the girls to keep quiet or else. "Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you". From this readers are led to believe that 'Abigail' is truly a vicious person who is capable of such evil acts. Overall, through the characterization of 'Abigail Williams' we see that evil is misleading and destructive as it can occur within unsuspected people, such as the reverend's niece, and cause much pain and chaos in the life of the innocent, such as those falsely accused of witchcraft, and thus presents and explores the theme of evil. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Proctor's' conscience eats away at him throughout the play as it manifests itself into his relationship with people, especially his wife, 'Elizabeth'. This is presented when Elizabeth states: " I do not judge you. The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you. I never thought you but a good man, John- only somewhat bewildered." Here we see the idea of morality being reflected on a personal level, or Proctor's conception of himself. He conceives himself as a blatant sinner because of his 'raw deeds', being his lechery. " I blush for my sin," he admits to his wife. Overall, through the characterization of 'John Proctor' the theme morals and guilt is presented and from this we see that his perception of right and wrong are decided by his own 'vision of decent conduct'. Characterization is essential to the exploration and development of themes in 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller. The characterization of 'Rebecca Nurse' explores the theme of evil. 'Abigail Williams' explores the themes of evil as well as the power of fear and 'John Proctor' explores the theme of morals and guilt. All these characters and many more help develop the themes within 'The Crucible'. ...read more.

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